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The State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament on Wednesday approved the bill abolishing a number of deferments from army service in the country
The State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament on Wednesday approved the bill abolishing a number of deferments from army service in the country. Duma Defense Committee first deputy chairman Alexei Sigutkin said it had been planned to scrap nine of the existing 25 draft deferments. But during the work on the document, the lawmakers decided to abolish four of them altogether and clarify the other five. The law abolishes draft deferments for men who study at educational institutions of security and law enforcement agencies, for men who work in rural areas as teachers and doctors, as well as those who work at state-owned enterprises, and young men who have been granted deferments on the strength of a presidential decree. “The latter category includes the students of religious organizations, as well as talented representatives of art and culture,” Sigutkin said. Draft deferments are also abolished for men whose wives are in the 26th week of pregnancy or more. The wives will receive monthly payments for the duration of their husbands’ service. The Defense Ministry suggested a sum of 6,000 roubles a month. Earlier it was proposed to preserve draft deferments for men whose close relatives are disabled. The lawmakers said this would apply only to the relatives of those invalids who need constant care and a draftee will have to present a medical certificate proving that. Draft deferments will be granted only to sons and brothers of military servicemen who have died while on duty as conscripts. Draft deferments will also be preserved for men who have two and more children as well as disabled children. The draft law may become effective from January 1, 2008. Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said some of the draft deferments “will not be abolished but will be altered for anti-terror purposes.” According to the minister, less than 1,000 university graduates actually work as teachers and doctors in rural areas but “dozens of thousands of people bring certificates [confirming they hold these jobs] to the draft boards.” “I am confident that the draft laws will be passed with minor changes. Otherwise we will not do what we have to do, notably reduce the length of military service to 12 months by 2008,” Ivanov said. The head of the Duma Defense Committee, Viktor Zavarzin of the pro-Kremlin United Russia faction, said the law reduces military service from 24 to 12 months from 2008. A transitional army service period of 18 months will be introduced from 2007.
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